Learn how to create extraordinary photographs in Lightroom and Photoshop

Four inspiring lessons that will show you the path to an authentic darkroom workflow.

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Photography eBook: How to Photograph Sunrises and Sunsets

Learn how to capture the magnificent light of golden hours with vibrant colors and detail.

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Lightroom Cheatsheet: Start-to-finish Workflow in Lightroom Classic

This cheatsheet outlines the exact workflow I go through in Lightroom whenever I import new photos, with dozens of my best tips and tricks.

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Video Course: Learn Photoshop in four Simple Steps

When it comes to processing landscapes in Photoshop, there are only four main concepts you need to know: layers, masks, smart objects, and luminosity masks.

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The Darkroom Training Program

"The Darkroom" is my proven system for creating extraordinary, artistic landscape photographs with total confidence in Lightroom and Photoshop.

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Tutorials

CreativeRAW Tutorials

Here you'll find my most comprehensive tutorials for landscape photography. These guides break down important concepts into simple-to-follow steps, so you better understand your camera and the digital darkroom.

The Complete Guide to Camera Aperture for Photography

The actual definition of aperture is quite simple: it’s a part in the camera lens that controls the amount of…

The Complete Guide to Shutter Speed for Photography

Camera shutter speed is the measurement of time that the sensor is exposed to the light of your scene -…

The Complete Guide to Camera ISO for Photography

ISO is one of the most important concepts to understand if you want to create better photographs, and ESPECIALLY if…

About

About CreativeRAW

Christopher Odonnell - CreativeRAW

Welcome! I’m Christopher O’Donnell. 

When it comes to learning Lightroom and Photoshop, I’m a big believer in learning the principles first…because when your foundation is solid, it’s much easier to understand more complex skills and techniques.

This is especially true for Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials…because when it comes to processing your images, it’s easy to become fascinated with the new and shiny.

A new Lightroom course that promises to make your images “pop”…

Or an exciting Photoshop tutorial that shows you this “one change” to enhance your colors.

And judging by the countless articles, courses, and workflow videos out there, unveiling the next “new shiny object” can gather a lot of attention…

Because these tutorials provide magical shortcuts to a (seemingly) complicated subject: Lightroom and Photoshop.

It gives you the illusion that you’re gaining traction in the darkroom….because you are seeing instant results with your image processing.

You’ve learned a new workflow tactic that you can add to your processing toolbelt, which is great for building confidence…but it’s usually an empty win.

Many of these Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials teach you new skills that are simply overcomplicating your workflow because they don’t match how YOU best process images.

In other words, they’re based on how someone else creates the images THEY want…which, more than likely, is vastly different from what YOU want.

And unless you follow your creative vision, there will be a disconnect between what you learned and what you want….which is subconsciously abrasive to enhancing your craft.

This is why we eventually have trouble fitting that shiny new “tactic” we picked up in that Lightroom tutorial or Photoshop course…and into the closet it goes, never to be used again.

Either that, or we freeze with overwhelm once we hit the darkroom because we have no idea which tool or technique to use.

We don’t understand the “WHY” behind it all…specifically, whether or not the techniques taught in these tutorials are congruent to our creative voice.

We’re just simply going through the steps laid out for us, like an assembly line for art.

This is why the more we learn, the more complicated and confusing our workflow can become…

Because unless you’ve dug deep to strengthen the creative connection to your images …you’re simply piling more onto a weak foundation.

Sure, perhaps a few of these techniques are aligned with your vision…but unless you have a strong creative connection to your image, this is a game of hit-or-miss.

Let’s look at this another way…

If you were attending college, you wouldn’t sign up for every class offered.

  1. That’s massively overwhelming.
  2. The quality of your education is going to suffer without any intent and direction to keep you moving forward.

When you know what you want to focus on, you can quickly qualify a class…and if it’s not aligned with your goals, you don’t take it.

The same mindset applies to your photography when your creative compass is aligned and you know the images you want to create…

When you come across a new tool or technique, you can immediately decide whether or not this will enhance your workflow.

This is where I come in.

I’ve spent the past 11 years creating Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials and courses, and during that time I’ve received countless questions. And most of them revolve around the processing workflow….and specifically, the order of operations. 

The exact processing steps to take to get to the final image. 

“Should I crop first or later?”

“How do I know which colors to enhance?”

“Did I oversharpen?”

And the more photographers I talked to, the more I noticed a trend…that these questions are masking a bigger problem.

It seems like no matter how many Photoshop tutorials or Lightroom courses they watch, or new “trick” they try to implement…they still feel that their images are unfinished, or otherwise subpar.

Now, there are several ways to move past this workflow plateau…

However, the absolute biggest roadblock standing in your way right now is doubting your own creative abilities.

Every photographer gets this feeling at some point, and it’s a challenge we all have to overcome. Because when your workflow doesn’t click in the darkroom, it’s easy to default to the standard excuses:

“Lightroom and Photoshop are too hard to understand. I’m not a computer whiz”.

“I shouldn’t be ‘fixing’ things in post anyways – I need to be more creative with my camera, not in the darkroom”.

And my favorite myth to dispel…

“I’m just not artistic or imaginative. Some photographers just have this natural gift where they can create masterpieces easily”. 

Thankfully, all these beliefs are 100% false…and are easily dismissed with a simple shift in perspective. 

Being able to create expressive photographs that you can be proud of comes down to three very basic concepts…

And these will remain true no matter where you are in your journey.

  1. Identify your creative vision…or “thesis” for an image. I call this finding your “creative compass”.
  2. Minimize any distractions that are not aligned with your compass.
  3. Amplify the atmosphere and enhance the qualities of your image that ARE aligned with your compass.

I call this the “IMA method” for short. And all my tutorials and courses revolve around one very simple formula to creating extraordinary images. 

The concept is quite simple, but massively powerful.

Because when it comes down to expressing your creativity through photography…the efficacy is in simplicity. 

Unfortunately, there are several stumbling blocks that can derail your workflow and sidetrack you from producing images you can be proud of. 

Some are technical, which is an easy fix…

But most are mental barriers that clutter the path to your creative vision. 

Ready to get started? 

I’ve put together five inspiring tutorials that explain the IMA method in detail, showing you how to move past these darkroom roadblocks and start creating extraordinary, artistic photographs with complete confidence in Lightroom and Photoshop.

These tutorials are completely free, and ready and waiting for you.

Click here to start your first lesson today.

Lightroom and Photoshop - CreativeRAW